Jim Douglas has been relentlessly pursuing the four outlaws who murdered his wife, but finds them in jail about to be hanged. While he waits to witness their execution, they escape; and the townspeople enlist Douglas' aid to recapture them.Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Gregory Peck admitted he found it a struggle to get a handle on playing such a hateful character. See more »
When Gregory Peck lassoed Albert Salmi he roped one leg. Yet when he hung him from a tree both legs were in the noose. However when playing it in slow motion, you can see that when he ropes him and he falls down and tries to reach the rope to get out of it, both feet are in the noose as Peck starts to drag him, and again when he stops to throw the rope over the limb Salmi tries again to get it loose and both feet are still in the noose. See more »
Unlike John Wayne Westerns (especially the John Ford ones), a lot of Westerns from the 1950 like the Anthony Mann films are a little edgy and psychological. This one, starring a laconic Gregory Peck, is big and beautiful and classic, and it has some of that darkness to it that makes it more contemporary.
To be sure, it's still a product of the clichés of the genre. A loner is on the trail of some bad guys, and for much of the movie he hunts them down across some astonishing landscape. A woman from his past gets in the middle of it, at times, and the townspeople aren't sure what to make of him.
Peck is a great lead, and he's got a strong, if predictable, supporting cast. The woman in question is a young Joan Collins, more famous for her "Dynasty" years. Also of note is the sets and lighting--if sets is the right word. There are so many gorgeous scenes, both in town and in the wilderness, and they are filmed with such great light, it's actually worth watching just to watch. And many of the night scenes are filmed with a bold darkness, the color stripped down and everything hard to discern. This isn't actually Technicolor, but a new competitor, DeLuxe, and the restoration (at least on the Netflix streaming version) is superb.
If you like Westerns, this is one not to miss. If you don't, I think it's still really enjoyable, and might just get you looking for more. The director here, Henry King, is a Hollywood stalwart who took his hand at almost everything (from 1915 into the 1960s). And so you see a pro at work here, working within the genre, but intelligently.
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